1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

4,301 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,301
Reviews: 976
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 773
Gots: 877 | FT: 71
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,301 | Reviews: 976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to drink this beer for a while, thankfully got a chance.

Pours a 2 finger mocha head, dark beer. Carbonated bubbles travel upward while this beer looks creamy, interesting mix.

Great smells of Vanilla, coffee, caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, beautiful, cant wait to drink it.

Complex taste, very complex. Vanilla, citrus hops, coffee, chocolates, caramel.

Bitter, dry finish, carbonated yet smooth again, a little boozy, but great great beer.

Photo of straightlambic
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of fropones
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as night with no light shining through. Very minimal mocha head. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, a little bit of caramel. Very little vanilla in the smell. The taste is more delicious roasted malt and coffee. A hint of dark fruits as well. The notes of vanilla are very subtle. Will let this one warm up for a bit to let more flavors come out. Mouthfeel is very full-bodied and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation. Very drinkable, alcohol very well hidden. The only reason it'll take me a bit to drink this one is because I want to let it warm up.

Photo of digita7693
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A typical deep dark black, nice inch of mocha head, little lacing.

S coffee, but not overwhelmingly so with a nice bit of sweet vanilla and some roasted notes

T following the nose, good bit of coffee, a bit bitter chocolate and and a good amount of vanilla (ive heard many people complain about the lack of vanilla smell and taste, while it wasnt overwhelming it is definitely there and very tasty)

M/D nice carbonation, very smooth and creamy, very drinkable, but I couldnt have more than a bomber as it is a bit heavy. But split between 2 people it was perfect.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a tulip glass. Pours black with a minimal khaki crown that shows little retention throughout the session. Aroma picks up loads of coffee and vanilla over a nicely roasted malt. Some chocolate makes an appearance but it’s more of a supporting role. Dry coffee and roasted malts flavors kick in along with some chocolate, leading the way to a bitter finish of roasted malts, coffee and vanilla. Medium to Thick bodied, good carbonation throughout and creamy! Great bold flavors!

Photo of zrab11
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle opened on 1/12/12

A-Pours a dark black color with a nice 1 1/2 finger tan head. Lacing on the glass as well

S-This has a very nice Vanilla smell up front followed by some roasted coffee notes and some more vanilla and chocolate as well

T- HAs a nice coffee flavor in the beginning and then followed by a nice chocolate flavor in the middle and then finishes with an almost cappuccino flavor at the end

M-Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Alittle syrupy and thin for my taste

D-Overall this beer was a very solid Coffer porter but to call it a Vanilla coffee porter it was a let down.. Yes i got a lot of vanilla in the nose but the beer has virtually no vanilla taste which i would of loved to have. I feel like the vanilla flavor would of made this a memorable beer. I will have to revisit this beer through since i had a year old bottle the vanilla may of faded.

Photo of scottfrie
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours black with a couple fingers of creamy dense dark brown head that slowly faded into thick frothy layer that left rings of fine lacing down the glass.
S: Big notes of coffee with a hint of alcohol vapor and bitter chocolate.
T: Rich blast of coffee and dark chocolate assault the palate first with a touch of roasted malt, vanilla and marshmallow in the finish. Flavors are very bold yet well integrated. There is a bitterness to the aftertaste that lingers on the palate in a potent sort of way.
M: Thick full body with a slightly sharp mouthfeel from the bitter-sweet dark chocolate and acidic coffee. Alcohol pokes through with some spiciness, but for the most part this beer goes down smooth.
O: Overall this is one heck of a beer and definitely one worth seeking out. I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I can appreciate it when a brew like this integrates it so well. The vanilla adds a wonderful balance. Recommended.

Photo of CraftFan5
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Photo of Jayli
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep brown, almost black with a 3/4 inch of brown head which recedes very quickly. Not much lacing to speak of with this one. Nose is of strong coffee, perhaps the strongest scent of coffee in a beer that I've come across, deep roasted malts, slight chocolate, caramel, and notes of vanilla are present. Taste starts of with a big coffee pop that slides in to roasted malts and chocolate, finish is more sweet with caramel, toffee and vanilla, as the beer warmed it got a bit boozy in the taste as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied, not much carbonation, creamy body with a dry finish. This is a decent beer - watch out for the abv kick, it'll catch up with you!

Photo of Arbitrator
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Rose & Crown.

A: Pours an initial pitch black that lightens to a translucent, very dark brown (with ruby highlights) as the brew recedes in the glass. It's capped by a surprisingly long-lived mocha-colored head that falls in rocky patches. But it doesn't leave a collar or any lacing down the glass, which is odd. I am able to excite fresh carbonation with a swirl, but it doesn't last.

S: Vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt which lends quite the flavorful aroma of espresso. I kept expecting more, then I realized it's my "extreme beer nerd" acting up. This has a few primary components, and they are delivered well for a solid bouquet. That's that.

T: Vanilla up front -- I'm told this was made with vanilla beans, as opposed to extract -- and dark chocolate make for a supple, sweet introduction that make me beg for more. The mid-taste is coffee that carries into the finish. The aftertaste resurrects vanilla and chocolate for a supremely satisfying close.

M: Full-bodied; it's quite viscous to swirl in the mouth. Low carbonation that gives it a nearly creamy mouthfeel. Quite good. No trace of the ABV. It drank like something much, much lighter.

D: Hell yes. I had two glasses of this and I'm tempted to go back for more before the keg kicks. This is a good one. The price point is the only thing keeping me away from drinking myself silly on it.

Photo of Gatch
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black with a light brown, creamy, pillowy head. Little lace or head retention.

S: Plenty of roasted malt, dark chocolate, espresso, and a hint of vanilla and alcohol.

T: Malty, boozy concoction. Thought it would get better near room temperature but turns out the alcohol becomes stronger. Sweet malt with burnt, roasted malt, dark coffee, and some mellow vanilla in the finish.

M: Some cloying burnt malt. Pretty smooth and tasty. Drinkable for the ABV but the booze is definitely noticeable throughout and hits you about halfway through the bomber.

O: Pretty solid Imperial Porter. Enjoyable. Big.

Photo of seaoflament
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are two profiles for this beer but I'm putting this one with the most accurate alc %.

Coke colored with an inch of foam, good rention and lacing.

Coffee burst at first with notes of vanilla, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some alcohol heat in the background. Espresso and nutty malt notes. Coffee, sugar cookie....seems to go good with chips ahoy. Black patent malt and caramel aromas. More soft sugar cookie aroma as it warms up.

Coffee and espresso with dark chocolate and roasted malts. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and slightly burnt malts. Strong alcohol presence in the background.

Low carbonation at first and a bit syrupy in the finish.

Photo of rhinos00
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Shane for sending this one my way. Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brownie color. Zero clarity. Produced a fingers width of off-white colored head. Reduced to a ring around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S- I really had to let this beer warm up to get the full effect. The vanilla and coffee aromas in this beer were equally dominant. Also noticed a subtle sweetness from dark chocolates. Great blend of aromas!

T- Very much like the aroma, which I was happy about. The coffee does come on a little stronger and provides a great base flavor for the beer. Raw coffee bean upfront, then mellows out with the addition of vanilla flavors. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the palate along with bitter cocoa nibs.

M- Medium bodied and good carbonation. Semi-dry on the finish.

D- Very easy drinking with great flavors. Alcohol not too noticeable.

Overall, really glad to have finally tried this beer. I'm not too big into coffee beers, but this was an exception. Definitely recommended!

Photo of wvsabbath
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 22oz Bottle

Appearance - Black as night, creamy tan 1 inch head, tons of lacing

SMell - Lots of coffee, smoke, vanilla, chocolate, malts, barley, spices, man they put alot of everything in this

Taste - Is this a porter or stout? Man its sweet. Lots of vanilla and malts. Tons of coffee mixed with smoked bitterness. Very strong, very sweet, intense in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel - Bold, sweet, intense. Mouth is all messed up over the flavors. Tounge gets a huge sugar kick , then palette gets some sugar and burn from alcohol. No way would i drink anything ipa or pale after this monster. Still i ask, is this a porter?

Drinkabilty - This 22oz was enough. This was very strong and high on flavor. Was fun to drink, alot going on. Wasnt expecting it to be so strong and sweet. Its really good,I want to age one and i need to drink another one cause it was good, and next time i will expect the flavors more.

Photo of brydeen
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a very thin khaki colored head. Looks creamy.

S: Dark roast coffee, espresso, with a very light toasted marshmallow scent.

T: Light toasty coffee flavor, with a graham cracker hint. Definite sweetness from the vanilla. Surprisingly lacking in the roasty flavor, especially after the strong aroma. Extremely tasty though.

M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Very heavy.

O: Really tasty, but a bit sweet. Wish it had a bit more roast in the taste to counteract the vanilla. Tasty, but about 8oz is about the max I'd want in a sitting.

Photo of itsscience
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black with a finger and a half of tan head that retains well. The nose is ground coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, dark cherries, and booze. Tasting it, I'm hit with chocolate with a generous addition of vanilla, then I get roasted coffee beans that add bitterness. This is diminished somewhat by a sweet malt characteristic and a taste of caramel on the finish. Medium mouthfeel. It's slow going because the whole thing is quite heavy and the alcohol is evident. A big, flavorful porter.

Photo of GTJayG
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of beerfan99
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle consumed on 5/21/2011

A: Dark black in color and appears pretty thick. Standard pour created a lasting tall dark brown head.

S: Heavy coffee aroma at first, followed by the vanilla. Great combination. I kept trying to detect chocolate, but it did not happen.

T: Coffee and vanilla flavors mix well together. Balanced pretty well and masks the 10% alcohol. I liked the smell of the coffee and vanilla slightly better than it tasted.

M: A little thicker than medium bodied, but not as thick as an IRS. Alcohol is difficult to detect and is very easy to drink. Very smooth finish.

O: A solid coffee porter offering from Ballast Point and SoCal. This tasting review was for a bottle I picked up in San Francisco during beer week. Too bad this beer is not distributed to VA. Definitely a porter worth trying, if you have the chance.

Photo of greenmtn1111
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip style glass.

Thick and black out of the bottle like crude oil. The top of it is capped with a small head, tan in color. I get lots of sweet coffee on the nose, then vanilla and lots of chocolate malt. I love the combination of these smells. On the palate theses same three prominent flavors emerge in the same pattern. First the coffee - strong and bitter on the front, like a good espresso. Then the vanilla makes a quick presence but disappears as the bitter roasted malts kick in at the end. It finished moderately sweet with a mouthfeel that could be bit thicker, but doesn't disappoint. I wish there was more vanilla in it as the coffee comes on a little bit too strong, but overall it's quite enjoyable.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Rose & Crown in Palo Alto with Sculpin right next to it.

a - pours deep dark black, one-finger mocha colored head, retention around the edges and decent lacing

s - vanilla extract and dark chocolate dominate, dark fruits and deep roasted coffee add a nice depth

t - fairly sweet with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla up front, mid-palate is dominated by dark roasted bitter coffee, finish has lots of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla extract and some boozy notes

m - medium-to-full bodied, medium carbonation, pretty dry finish, strong alcohol warming

d - definitely a sipper and not overly drinkable, the coffee bitterness is fairly hard on the palate, that said, the flavors are interesting and I'd have no problem polishing off a few snifters or a bomber

Photo of samie85
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep dark black color with a few fingers of dark brown head.

S-Smells of fresh roasted coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla, and a bit of cocoa.

T-Roasted, dark coffee with some vanilla robust dark chocolate with lots of roast on the finish.

M-Rich, smooth body with ample carbonation that cuts through some of the richness of this one and a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish.

D-Pretty drinkable for 10%, that being said, there is an alcohol presence to this one that isn't entirely unwelcome.

Photo of coati858
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you love the bouquet of vanilla with an assertive taste of coffee in your beer, this is a great one.

I don't know if I could drink this one all night, but one sipped/savored pint is delicious (okay, maybe two in extreme circumstances) if not pairing it with some appropriate dessert, so if you have a bottle it's probably best if you share or love the style.

If you don't like coffee (or vanilla ... or porter), you should steer clear.

I'm gonna buy more.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - poured into my oversized snifter a silky black with a very thin tan creamy head with slippery lacing.

s - Nice sweet malts. Vanilla and caramel, some subtle roastiness, but not much coffee at all. If anything, perhaps a sweetened flavored coffee...definitely not in your face.

t - Chocolate and coffee really jump out. Nice vanilla mix and again caramel rounding things out. Really like a dessert coffee that you would get a coffee shop with a nice not overly watered down roasty porter in the background. Nicely flavored. Vanilla is definitely present.

m - Rich and cooling. Not overly watery at all. A bit of an alcohol tingle.

d - A bit filling for me. A bomber of this seems like a bit much to drink, but I'm up for the challenge.

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaving for Florida in a few hours, and I wanted to start the trip strong by drinking a good solid beer...

Poured from bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent and there is alot of sexy lacing to be had...

S - The name says it all. Coffee and vanilla dominate...

T - Once again, I remember why I keep coming back to this one. One word sums it up best: delicious. Dark roasted malts, and dark chocolates followed by a smooth vanilla insurgence. Ends on slight coffee bitterness with next to no alcohol to be tasted...

M - Nice and creamy, but not thick. This is one of those beers that can get you into trouble with because it is so smooth. While I won't go as far to call this a session beer, my financial disposition wouldn't allow it to be even if it was, this one is smooth and light enough to put a couple back in one sitting...

D - Was looking foward to this release, and I wasn't disippointed. Have already put about 5 of these bad boys down in the last month or two, and I am bummed I only have one more left. If you see one of these on the shelf definitely give a try...

Cheers...

Photo of bcostner1
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker than some porters I have had; borders on black but does transmit at least a little bit of light. Nice tan head.

S: Some char, wood, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Coffee and vanilla do not come through as much as I would have thought/liked but still presents a decent aroma.

T: Very tasty. Everything blends together pretty well. Not quite as coffee-forward or vanilla-forward as I thought it would be but both elements are still evident. Almost has a kind of "malted milkshake" or "frappuccino" quality to it from the blending of the coffee and vanilla which I like. The finish is pretty dry and is predominantly bitter dark chocolate and/or bitter cocoa. All in all, this is a fairly complex beer. As I sit and sip it, I keep picking different subtleties.

M: Pretty easy drinker surprisingly. ABV is hidden very well. I would say that it is actually a little on the thick/viscous side for a porter but not so much so as an extremely viscous impy stout would be for example. I'm enjoying the body in this one.

Overall, I was very excited to try this one. It did live up to expectations but I do wish that the coffee and vanilla elements (in particular the coffee) were just a little bit more pronounced. I would definitely drink this again though. Recommended.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,301 ratings.